Skilled typists make an average of eight mistakes for every 100 words typed, so it’s easy to infer that someone who doesn’t type for a living makes plenty more than this. However, fuzzy matching now means that common errors are accounted for and even inaccurate addresses at the point of entry yield correct data.  

What is fuzzy matching? 

Fuzzy matching, which is also known as approximate string matching, is a method of matching patterns approximately rather than exactly. Put simply, the process of fuzzy matching ensures that mistakes in a typed address are fixed in real-time by identifying and correcting common typos. Fuzzy matching uses natural language processing (a form of AI) to find errors, and the uniqueness of a word is used as an anchor to correct other elements. Fuzzy matching takes place after two letters have been typed when an exact match has not been found. 

The types of errors that fuzzy matching can correct are as follows: 

  • Insertions – a letter is added (e.g. “way” becomes “waay”)  
  • Deletions – a letter is removed (e.g. “road” becomes “rod”) 
  • Substitutions – a letter is swapped (e.g. “avenue” becomes “avenie”) 
  • Transpositions – two letters are swapped (e.g. “street” becomes “srteet”) 

Fuzzy matching can also resolve issues with incorrect punctuation, extra words being added, and missing spaces in postcodes. 

Most people will be familiar with a form of fuzzy matching in the form of spell checkers in programmes like Microsoft Word. Spell checkers function on a similar principle to fuzzy matching in that they recognise patterns and generate alternatives if a word does not match any in its database.  

How does fuzzy matching improve address capture? 

Fuzzy matching in our Capture product offers assistance by generating addresses even when there are mistakes in the way that it is typed, which is especially helpful for addresses that are tricky to spell (e.g. addresses in another region or country). Furthermore, fuzzy matching reduces keystrokes as the process of string matching is keyed to recognise patterns rather than specific words, and as a result, results can be generated as soon as a pattern is recognised instead of when a full word is typed. 

Added to this, fuzzy matching adds to the overall address capture solution by helping to reduce the time taken to enter an address, thereby boosting the user experience, and it reduces errors that are costly to fix further down the line (e.g. failed deliveries). Fuzzy matching is also very helpful for mobile users that may have more difficulty typing an address due to the size of the screen. 

If you feel that your business could benefit from an address capture solution with features such as fuzzy matching, get in touch with us now to talk about how we can help improve your customer experience.